Mark your calendars folks. On September 20th, consumers in one lucky city will be able to purchase Impossible product from the grocery store for the very first time.
We’ve known for a while that Impossible would launch in retail sometime this month. But in a tweet yesterday, the Redwood City, Calif. based startup teased us with a few more details.
— Impossible Foods (@ImpossibleFoods) September 9, 2019
This tweet tells us exactly one and a half pieces of information.
Firstly, Impossible’s first retail product will likely be packaged ground “meat,” similar to Beyond Beef. We predicted this might be the case since the startup has been emphasizing the versatility of its product ever since it launched the new Version 2.0 of its recipe at CES this January.
Honestly, it’s a smart move. Refrigerated grocery shelves are becoming crowded with pre-formed plant-based burgers from Lightlife, Beyond, and more. And over the past month alone major players like Kroger, Smithfield and Kellogg (through MorningStar) have all announced plans to launch refrigerated alterna-burgers of their own. By entering retail with a fresh ground meat product Impossible is essentially narrowing its competition down just to Beyond Beef and Hormel.
We haven’t tried Hormel’s ground protein yet but our team is pretty smitten with Beyond Beef. However, Beyond’s ground beef has only been on retail shelves for a few months, so Impossible won’t be too far behind when it enters the category with a product of its own. Plus, Impossible has been busy building up its brand through partnerships with major fast-food chains like Burger King.
Impossible’s tweet also gave us a hint which city it will launch in: one that smells like “palm trees.” Judging from that cryptic hint, it’s likely either L.A. or Miami. (Sadly, it looks like my hometown of Seattle is out. Damn you, evergreens!)
If I was a betting gal, I’d put my money on L.A. The City of Angels loves anything new and trendy, especially if it comes in Instagram-friendly technicolor packaging. L.A. also has the advantage of being much closer to Impossible’s Oakland production facility.
Then again, it’s too soon to count Miami out of the race. As my colleague Chris pointed out, Miami — or really, Florida — serves as a testbed for a lot of new retail technology. Ford is testing self-driving cars to deliver groceries in Miami, Kroger is building its next robotic warehouse in Groveland, Florida, Walmart offers its InHome service in Vero Beach, and robotic grocery fulfillment company Takeoff works with the Sedano’s supermarket chain throughout the Sunshine State. Plus, Miami was one of the first cities to get Burger King’s Impossible Whopper after its successful pilot in St. Louis, Missouri and Florida was one of the first three states to serve Little Caesar’s Impossible Supreme pizza.
There’s still a lot of question marks surrounding Impossible’s launch. We don’t know which stores or how many of them will carry the product or what it will cost. I guess we’ll have to wait 9 days to find out.
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